From The Washington Post:
As we continue to debate why women can’t get ahead at work — why they are less likely to be promoted, why they’re paid less than similar men in similar jobs — educators around the world have been fretting over the mirror-opposite problem. When it comes to school, it’s the girls who consistently beat out the boys. And we’re still not quite sure why.
For much of history, of course, most girls couldn’t even get a decent education. But as soon as girls joined the classroom, they revved ahead. These charts from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development show that in developed nations, girls started outpacing boys in educational achievement starting in the 1960s. These days, girls earn 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees, and 51.8 percent of PhDs.
While boys still have a slight edge on international standardized math tests, girls blow them away on reading tests; and, no matter the subject, girls consistently get better grades. These rifts have caused something of a crisis among educators, who wonder what is disadvantaging the world’s boys. Or, to frame the question a different way — how did girls get so good at school?
One theory says that the school environment itself favors girls, who tend to be more organized and more diligent. According to the OECD, girls spend more time on their homework, are more likely to say they enjoy school, and more likely to show up to school on time. Girls are also less impulsive and less likely to be punished in school. This could explain why low-performing students are disproportionately boys, whose behavioral problems are holding them back.
Research from the United States shows that there’s something about girls that makes them more resilient to adverse circumstances. Put a boy into a low-income household or a low-performing school, and …